Archive for March, 2013

Things Japanese People Know (That You Don’t)

March 10, 2013

Old People Smell
armpitMaybe there is a certain smell associated with older people, but I’ve always chalked it up to those dusty knick-knacks in grandma’s house, or Bengay.

But in Japan, “aging smell” or 加齢臭 (kareishu) is a household term. Kareishu is not seen as the result of hygiene, diet, or smelly ointments. Kareishu is understood to be a distinctive body odor that is produced exclusively by older people. Some Japanese families even launder older people’s clothes separately so they don’t get any “kareishu” on the clothes of other family members.

This belief stems from research by Japanese scientists being paid by Shiseido Corporation, the cosmetics giant. They discovered that the concentration of a compound called 2-Nonenal in body odor increases as a person ages. Conveniently, Shiseido also makes special anti-kareishu deodorant designed to counteract this embarrassing smell. If deodorant is not your thing, anti-kareishu soap, spray, and chewing gum are also available.

Smoker’s Voice Is Caused by Drinking
smokerEver met a woman with a deep, husky voice, so gravelly you could swear it was a man? In America, this is usually called “smoker’s voice.” However, most people in Japan claim alcohol, not tobacco, is what’s causing all those female baritones. It’s hard to say for sure. After all, drinkin’ and smokin’ often go together.